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SBA Announces Changes to Contracting Program For Women-Owned Small Businesses

SBA Announces Changes to Contracting Program For Women-Owned Small Businesses

By Kim Hobgood

 

 

 

WASHINGTON – Women-ownedsmall businesses will have greater access to federal contracting opportunities asa result of changes included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal ContractProgram. “Thisnew law is a prime example of how the Obama Administration is embracing a moreinclusive view of entrepreneurship, helping small businesses and America succeed,”said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “Today,women own 30 percent of all small businesses up from just 5 percent 40 yearsago. As one of the fastest growingsectors of small business owners in the country, opening the door for women tocompete for more federal contracts is a win-win.” {{more}} The NDAAremoves the anticipatedaward price of the contract thresholds for women-owned small businesses andeconomically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses to allow them greateraccess to federal contracting opportunities without limitations to the size ofthe contract. Prior to the new law, the anticipated award price of the contract for women-ownedand economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses could not exceed$6.5 million for manufacturing contracts and $4 million for all othercontracts. The Women’sFederal Contract Program allows contracting officers to set aside specificcontracts for certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs and will help federal agenciesachieve the existing statutory goal of five percent of federal contractingdollars being awarded to WOSBs. The law also requires the SBA to conduct another study toidentify and report industries underrepresented by women-owned small businesses. As a result, more eligible women-ownedbusinesses may be able to participate in SBA’s Women’s Federal Contract Programand compete for and win federal contracts. The SBA is working with the Office of Federal ProcurementPolicy under the President’s Office of Management and Budget on theimplementation including changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulations. Every firmthat wishes to participate in the WOSB program must meet the eligibilityrequirements and either self-certify or obtain third party certification. There are four approved third-partycertifiers that perform eligibility exams: El Paso Hispanic Chamber ofCommerce, National Women Business Owners Corporation, U.S. Women’s Chamber ofCommerce, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Additionalinformation and links about approved third-party certifiers are available at www.sba.gov/wosb. To qualify as a WOSB, a firm must be at least fifty-onepercent owned and controlled by one or more women, and primarily managed by oneor more women. The women must be U.S.citizens and the firm must be considered small according to SBA size standards. To be deemed “economically disadvantaged,” afirm’s owners must meet specific financial requirements set forth in the programregulations. The WOSB Program identifies eighty-three four-digit NorthAmerican Industry Classification Systems codes where WOSBs areunderrepresented or substantially underrepresented. Contracting officers may set aside contractsin these industries if the contract can be awarded at a fair and reasonableprice and the contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that two or moreWOSBs or EDWOSBs will submit offers for the contract. For more information on the Women-Owned SmallBusiness Program or to access the instructions, applications or database,please visit www.sba.gov/wosb.